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Graduate Degree Options

Master’s Degree

Students may be admitted to the ME graduate program to work toward an M.S. degree. The recipient of an M.S. degree will possess knowledge of a broad field of learning that extends well beyond that attained at the undergraduate level, but is not necessarily expected to have made a significant original contribution to knowledge in that field.

The ME group has established the following requirements for the M.S. degree. Each M.S. student must have a faculty advisor responsible for designing and approving a plan of study detailing all classes to be taken. Two different tracks are recognized as described below. Students may switch from one M.S. plan to another with their faculty advisor’s consent.

PLAN I (Thesis Track)

This plan requires:

  • A minimum of 29 semester units in approved graduate courses, at least 20 of which much be earned in 200‐series graduate‐level courses exclusive of credit given for thesis research and preparation.
  • In addition, 8 units of research and 1 unit of ME seminar.
  • A written thesis and oral defense approved by a thesis committee.

PLAN II (Non-thesis Track)

This plan requires:

  • A minimum of 29 semester units in approved graduate courses, at least 28 of which much be earned in 200‐series graduate‐level courses exclusive of credit given for thesis research and preparation.
  • In addition, 1 unit of ME seminar. No research effort is required in this plan.

The passing of a comprehensive exam to be administered by a faculty committee, focusing on courses taken by the student as part of their graduate studies in mechanical engineering at UC Merced.

For more detailed information about each M.S. track, please refer to the Mechanical Engineering Policies and Procedures.

Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) is granted to students who demonstrate a thorough knowledge of a broad field of learning and have demonstrated evidence of distinguished accomplishment in that field. The degree also signifies that the recipient has critical ability and powers of imaginative synthesis as demonstrated by a doctoral dissertation containing an original contribution to knowledge in his or her chosen field of study.

There are 3 options for students to obtain their Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering: Post-M.S., M.S. and Ph.D., and Direct Ph.D. Each option has different unit requirements. Please note that courses taken toward a graduate degree at another institution cannot be transferred for credit toward a Ph.D. at UC Merced. However, a course requirement may be waived if a similar course was taken at another institution.

In accordance with University of California policy, a minimum of four semesters in academic residence is required prior to awarding the Ph.D. Typically, a longer period of study, four to six years, is required for completion of all degree requirements. These include the passing of a preliminary examination and a qualifying examination, as well as the writing of a thesis and its oral defense in front of a thesis committee.

For detailed information on all requirements associated with the doctoral degree, please refer to the Mechanical Engineering Policies and Procedures.